Tag Archives: vegetable side

Moña’s Fried Cauliflower — A Mexican side dish

Our family just came back from a two-week vacation in Nayarit, Mexico. One of the perks of the place we stay in is a housekeeper who cooks for us. Moña used to run a restaurant out of her home and she’s the best Mexican chef I know. I yearn for her chiles rellenos and chilaquiles.

One of her specialties is battered, fried cauliflower. I’m not a cauliflower enthusiast, but when it’s prepared like chiles rellenos, I’m sold.

Florets are coated in a delicate egg batter, pan fried and tossed in a simple tomato sauce. The florets turn out perfectly tender, almost like al dente pasta.

The difficulty with my trying to make Moña’s recipes back home is our lack of delicious produce. Our fresh tomatoes are usually terrible and our onions aren’t nearly as sweet.

Here is my attempt at one of Moña’s signature side dishes. It’s accompanying pulled pork enchiladas and mexican rice. Look for the rice recipe below.

Moña's fried cauliflower | florets coated in a delicate egg batter, pan fried and tossed in a tomato sauce. It's the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal. Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Moña’s fried cauliflower

Serves 4

Moña's fried cauliflower | florets coated in a delicate egg batter, pan fried and tossed in a tomato sauce. It's the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal. Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, trimmed into small/medium florets
  • 5 eggs
  • 1, 14.5-oz can of diced tomatoes
  • about a cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/4 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Place the flour, chicken stock, sugar, chile powder and tomatoes in a blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

Separate the eggs and whip the whites until stiff. Fold in the yolks.

Moña's fried cauliflower | florets coated in a delicate egg batter, pan fried and tossed in a tomato sauce. It's the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal. Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Pour oil in a small sauté pan. There should be about a half-inch of oil in the pan. Heat over high heat. When hot, dip florets in the egg batter till covered and drop them in the pan. You’ll need to do several batches but they brown pretty quickly. Spoon oil over the florets as they brown on the first side, then turn them all over and brown on the other side.

Moña's fried cauliflower | florets coated in a delicate egg batter, pan fried and tossed in a tomato sauce. It's the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal. Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Moña's fried cauliflower | florets coated in a delicate egg batter, pan fried and tossed in a tomato sauce. It's the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal. Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Drain the florets and place on a paper towel-lined platter. Set aside.

Moña's fried cauliflower | florets coated in a delicate egg batter, pan fried and tossed in a tomato sauce. It's the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal. Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet and sauté the onion and garlic until soft. Add the blended tomato mixture and oregano. Stir until thickened. If too thick, add more chicken stock. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Moña's fried cauliflower | florets coated in a delicate egg batter, pan fried and tossed in a tomato sauce. It's the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal. Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Add the cauliflower florets and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Moña's fried cauliflower | florets coated in a delicate egg batter, pan fried and tossed in a tomato sauce. It's the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal. Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Serve on a platter and sprinkle with cojita or monterey jack cheese.

Mexican rice

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white rice, uncooked
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat the butter in a large sauté pan. Toss in the rice and cook, stirring for a few minutes until the rice is lightly toasted. Pour in 1 cup of stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for five minutes.

Add another cup of stock, the carrots, onion and garlic. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Check the rice every now and then to see if it needs more liquid. Add more stock if necessary.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Braised Red Cabbage

Around my birthday last month I went to the garage to find something in the chest freezer only to see it full of Omaha Steak Company boxes. Turns out my mother-in-law sent us five meaty meals to cook up with very little prep. One hunk of meat was corned beef brisket. Mmm…corned beef with mustard and cabbage.

I prefer red cabbage not only for its vibrant color, but it’s packed with tons more vitamin A than green. I once had Thanksgiving with a Hungarian guest. She brought a red cabbage dish that was tangy and sweet. She said it was a traditional recipe in her country.

I never got the recipe, but I decided to use Bon Appétit’s as a guideline. The dish was tender, tangy and sweet, just as I anticipated. The julienned granny smith apple rounds out the flavors. This braised red cabbage went perfectly with our corned beef and mashed potatoes.

Braised Red Cabbage | Alaska Knit Nat

Braised Red Cabbage

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Braised Red Cabbage | Alaska Knit Nat

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. olive oil

1/2 head red cabbage, cored and sliced

1/2 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic

3/4 cup chicken broth

1/4 tsp. allspice

2 tsp. sugar

2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

1 granny smith apple, cut into matchsticks

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Heat olive oil over medium-high flame in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook till onions are soft and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the cabbage, salt, pepper, allspice, and sugar and toss to evenly coat with oil. Cook till cabbage is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, cover and turn down the heat. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add the apples and vinegar, recover and simmer another 15 minutes.

Braised Red Cabbage | Alaska Knit Nat

Roasted Carrots in a Honey Dijon Rosemary Glaze

Recently I’ve been poking around online newspapers from the little villages around Alaska. Something I’ve noticed is that they frequently feature recipes sent in from the locals.

I came across a glazed carrots recipe from a radio station in Petersburg, Alaska (population 3,000). I really want to give the station all the credit, but upon closer Google inspection, I discovered it was taken from The Healthy Foodie blog.

My dad was roasting a leg of lamb and had first dibs on the oven, which was set at 350 degrees. So I opted to use the gas grill as an oven. The temperature wasn’t consistent, but the carrots turned out perfectly caramelized, garlicky, mustardy and a delicious side dish for lamb.

Here’s the link to the original blog post, since I’d like to give credit where it’s due. Also, her photos are a heck of a lot better than mine.

Roasted Carrots in a Honey Dijon Rosemary Glaze

Ingredients:
 1 pound medium sized carrots
 2 Tbs. olive oil
 2 Tbs. honey
 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
 1 Tbs. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
 2 cloves garlic, minced
 salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Brush the carrots under running water. Cut them in half lengthwise and crosswise and set them aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, mustard, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the reserved carrots. Toss to coat evenly and spread in a single layer in a shallow baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once or twice, until the carrots are tender and golden.